So there are six (count ‘em!) clubs in the group stages of this season’s Champions League: the big four in England, plus Celtic and Rangers. The English clubs can’t meet each other, because they are all amongst the top eight seeds, but there’s a very strong chance that we’ll see another so-called ‘Battle of Britain’, [...]
Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City
Cesc Fabregas finally found a breakthrough, despite an excellent performance from Manchester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. The young Dane made a string of saves, including Robin van Persie’s 65th minute penalty.
‘I think I have a naive team. They are naive because they are pure and they are clean.’ Jose Mourinho, exceeding himself in the ‘they said what!?’ stakes. ‘If Chelsea are naive and pure then I’m Little Red Riding Hood.’ Rafa Benitez disagrees with Jose Mourinho’s assessment of his own side.
Gabriel Heinze’s attempts to move from Manchester United to Liverpool are expected to be settled by a Premier League arbitration panel later today. This should provide a speedy resolution to the situation, just ask Heinze’s new team-mate and compatriot Carlos Tevez!
Jamie Carragher has confirmed that he will not return to international football. After finally getting a guaranteed first team place, the Scouse defender has decided he doesnâ€™t want it – but is he sticking to his guns or shooting himself in the foot?.
Is it a My Little Pony? Is it Emmanuel Petit’s greasy brother? Is it Fabien Barthez in a wig? No, it’s Liverpool’s summer signing Andriy Voronin. The Ukrainian first came onto our Horror Hair radar when we picked up reports of a ponytail thrashing around pitches in Germany during the 2006 World Cup. And here he is in the Premier League and, indeed at Anfield, the rightful home of Horror Hair.
(Photo by MN Chan/Getty Images)
Yet more fans spouting off about their new signings and their loathing for rival teams? Great! This is what we want. Now, we visit Anfield where they’re all a bit excited about a certain Spanish striker… and likening Rafa to Nick Leeson… oh, and our scouse blogger comes from new Pies affiliate, LiverpoolPies! Hello? Who are you?
The big kick-off is nigh and we don’t have a thing to wear. Well, we do now. This is part one of a bumper Kit Parade Special from Pies. Arsenal This looks a little familiar… wait a cotton picking minute! Yes, Arsenal have retained last season’s home kit for a further season. It makes my job a bit harder because you have all seen it before, but I’d be delighted if I was a Gooner. Comiserations to the parents of young Arsenal fans who will have to think a bit harder about birthday presents this year! Click here to buy it from Kitbag.
Yet more rumours abound about the future of Liverpool‘s Scott Carson, as he appears to be making his way to Aston Villa on loan for the new season. The ‘Pool sent the England U21 ‘keeper on loan to Charlton last season which saw him applauded for his performances in sticks. Now, in the quest for first team football, and with an eye on breaking into the senior team for England, Carson is off to Villa….
Chelseaâ€™s squad for last weekendâ€™s Community Shield match was so bare that they played without a recognised striker for most of the match. And it looks like theyâ€™ll have to make up the numbers when their Premier League kicks off on Sunday.
Gabriel Heinze is a troubled man. Apart from being the footballer that no commentator can agree on in terms of pronouncing his surname, he’s also trapped in a loveless relationship. By that I mean his stay at Old Trafford. Heinze will take his dispute with Manchester United to a Premier League arbitration panel next week regarding his wish to leave the club….
In a nutshell: Arsenal v Sparta Prague, Liverpool v Toulouse, Celtic v Spartak Moscow and Rangers or FK Zeta v Crvena Zvezda or Levadia Tallinn.
The BBC is lamenting a tough draw for the British clubs, but you would expect at least three of the four to progress. They may not be easy games (there are no easy games at this level, Clive) but to call it a tough draw might be taking things a bit too far. Sparta Prague are a team Arsenal generally beat comfortably in the group stages. And if Liverpool can’t make it past Toulouse then they don’t deserve to be in the competition anyway. Celtic have man-for-man the toughest draw, but even a below-par Rangers should have what it takes to defeat their potential opponents.
1 The annual ‘will this be Liverpool’s year?’ discussions. It never is and this year is no exception.
2 Every pundit predicts that the three promoted teams will go straight back down. It hasn’t happened since 1998. 3 Alan Hansen maxes out his quote of Liverpool players/old boys for his Telegraph fantasy football team.
I know that Liverpool fans don’t have the monopoly on this song (Celtic fans sing it regularly, as do fans of Ajax and several other European clubs) but it’s still weird to see Man Yoo fans belting out the song associated with their arch rivals. Are they on a wind-up, or did United fans ever adopt this song as their own? Answers on a postcard please (or just leave a comment!).
The business end of the Premiership has been dominated in recent years by the Big Four, namely Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Few teams have even come close to challenging that dominance, but Chelski boss Jose Mourinho believes that Spurs are now strong enough to challenge that group this coming season, and thus create a ‘Big Five’.
With Fergie refusing Liverpool’s Â£6.8m bid for Gabriel Heinze and claiming United would ‘never’ sell to their bitterest rivals, we take a look at a few transfers that have taken place between clubs with a history of hatred.
Put yourself in the shoes of Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez (just don’t complain if you’re not the same shoe size). You’re desperate to break the Chelsea/Man Utd Premiership axis of evil, so you’ve spent big in the summer. You’ve got rid of Luis Garcia and Craig Bellamy and now have the following forwards to choose from for the new season:
Calm down, calm down. TShirts365 have come up with this offering which is guaranteed to look good under even the most flammable of polyester shell-suits. In Spain the Kid is called El Nino, but on Merseyside he’s just La’ like everyone else! The Rafa-lution is a hotbed for t-shirt designs it seems!
There are bound to be a few more twists to this year’s transfer season, especially if someone remembers where they put Carlos Tevez’s ownership papers, but new TV money and the arrival of more glory hunting billionaires means there’s been plenty of action.
Here’s what we think are the ten best deals done so far:
That’s Ajax’s Ryan, not the mediocre Brad Pitt movie of the same name. Rafa ‘we’re working with wingers’ Benitez has reportedly got his man after an Â£11.5 million deal was agreed. The 20-year-old will finalise his move over the coming days.
We recently reported that Premiership legend and Scouse deity, Robbie Fowler, was having trouble finding a new club to ply his goal-poaching trade. Well, it seems all is not completely lost, as lowly League One club, Port Vale have made a cheeky attempt to sign his services.